Opinion » Maxed Out

maxed Out

Too much of a good thing

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There’s a camaraderie among winter visitors, a shared passion that bridges the often gaping chasms of language, age, social class, and physical abilities that would, in any other setting, divide them if not cause outright warfare to break out between them. Mind you, there continues to be a growing animosity between skiers and boarders that defies resolution and will, most likely, one day lead to slide-by polings or worse, but where would we be without some perceived slight to hang our "them and us" dichotomous disposition on?

Summer tourists are a whole different animal though. While winter tourists generally sift themselves through a simple screen of warm holiday or cold holiday, summer tourists are torn every which way by offerings as diverse as a cultural sojourn to Europe or staying in their own backyard and sipping beer while sprawled in the kid’s plastic pool, shooing away flies and mosquitoes. Faced with choices as broad as these, it’s a wonder any of them ever decide to come to Whistler.

But come they do, in sheer numbers, far more of them than in winter. Some of them come to ride bikes, go sightseeing, raft a river, catch a fish, whack a golf ball, see a sight, hike a trail and clog a beach. All in the same day. At the same time. Without any real understanding of exactly where they need to go to do those things.

Which is why they seem to end up all over the place and in a constant state of confusion. Unlike winter visitors who have the overall decency to stay in the village built for their pleasure, summer tourists know no boundaries. They’re in our neighbourhoods, wandering our streets, even knocking on our doors wanting to know where Rainbow Park is. There are now at least several who are convinced it’s in Pemberton and, if they followed my directions precisely, ended up checking into the Pemho.

Regardless of what many of our summer visitors thought they came for though, most of them seem to have come to argue with their children. In public. The children oblige this unusual pastime by throwing temper tantrums, thus upping the ante. It must be a rite of summer. There is an uncomfortable familiarity to many of the scenes I’ve stumbled upon recently, a timelessness of old, familiar tragedies replayed throughout the ages.

"C’mon now. You’ve got to learn to ride a bike some day."

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